Hello Housekeepers, I do hope you have had a lovely, puttery week and are fired up for another spoonful of Brocante-style inspiration…
*First up this week and just for a change: a recipe! Yesterday was baking day at Chez Brocante and I discovered, scrawled by my on fair hand at the back of my recipe journal, a recipe for Cocoa Drops from 1918, a recipe I had not before made, and had not bothered to note the source of, because truth be told: I’m a bit hopeless like that! Anyway it involved my two favorite ingredients in the world: cocoa and cinnamon, and so after following the scant instructions, and ever so slightly making it up as I went along, I ended up with a plate full of fragrant cookies with the rather unexpected texture of dense cake, hilariously iced, utterly delicious and thoroughly recommended if you like the taste of the most old-fashioned of baked goods…
” Cream one cupful of sugar with one cupful of butter, add two beaten eggs and half a teaspoonful of vanilla. Cook together over hot water two cupfuls of rolled oats and one cupful of ground almonds for ten minutes, then add suagr mixture, mix well, and allow to stand for ten minutes. Add two cupfuls of flour sifted with three tablespoons of cocoa, two teaspoonsful of baking powder, one teaspoonful each of salt, ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Drop on a greased baking tray. Makes twelve.”
* Next up: my perfect wedding. Nope. Don’t get excited, I’m not getting married, but oh my if I was I want a literary themed, flower sprinkled, happy little do just like this one created by Megan of Honey and Poppies. Imagine giving each guest a vintage book as a table favour! How scrumptious would that be? I just love it.
* Moving swiftly on, just in case it looks like I’m trying to ambush poor Richard into the most unlikely of proposals (I’m not!), how about a little bit of Bill Bryson? Now there’s a man who makes me laugh! After trecking all around the world and documenting his adventures for our reading pleasure dear little bearded Bill has turned his attention to the snuggly question of home and the private lives we lead in it, and from his unique viewpoint takes us on a worldwide journey as he moves around his family house describing the provenance of all that is in it. Sadly like so many of the books I am currently dementedly excited about, At Home isn’t published until October but I’ve added it to my Wishlist and in book-years will be counting the days…
* Playing this song over and over again, Berkeley Girl by Harper Simon, as suggested by my scrumptious little sister on Facebook: she who knows my musical taste inside out and never, ever gets its wrong. She’s juniper and roses, she’s leopardskin and lace…
* And finally, of course, a poem. The Idea of Housework by Dorainne Laux, makes us question the purpose of the daily grind, but by my interpretation at least, ultimately reminds us what beauty it serves to reveal to even the most tarnished of homemaker’s souls…
“What good does it do anyone, to have a drawer full of clean knives,
the tines of tiny pitchforks gleaming in plastic bins, your face
reflected eight times over in the oval bowls of spoons?
What does it matter that the bathmat’s scrubbed free of mold,
the door mat swept clear of leaves, the screen door picked
clean of bees’ wings, wasps’ dumbstruck bodies,
the thoraxes of flies and moths, high corners
broomed of spider webs, flowered sheets folded and sealed in drawers,
blankets shaken so sleep’s duff and fuzz, dead skin flakes,
lost strands of hair flicker down on the cut grass?
Who cares if breadcrumbs collect on the countertop, if photographs
of the ones you love go gray with dust, if milk jugs pile up, un-returned,
on the back porch near the old dog’s dish encrusted with puppy chow?
Oh to rub the windows with vinegar, the trees behind them revealing
their true colors. Oh the bleachy, waxy, soapy perfume of spring.
Why should the things of this world
shine so? Tell me if you know.”
Have a lovely day Housekeepers.